Thoughts from a Black Gay American Father About Parenting Children in the Most Homophobic Country in the World (Uganda)

The other day, my fiancé told me that our sixteen-year-old son [soon to be seventeen] thinks that I can do anything. I was amazed because life is filled with so many obstacles and challenges, until at times I feel that I am falling behind and failing many of life’s tests. If I am able to accomplish any amazing task, it is because God is faithful to His Word and is a true miracle worker!

I have been blessed with several beautiful children (who are fluent in many languages), some very young and some are older. Admittedly, at times I struggle as a parent trying to provide for them but I never fail to give them my love because that is the one thing I am certain that they need most.

Some of my children live in one of the most homophobic nations in the world and at times this presents unbelievable challenges because we are constantly battling homophobia in the most extreme expressions. Often, I find myself on my knees praying for their well-being and petitioning God for their divine protection. What gets us through is the fact that we are truly unified as a family and agree in prayer about everything – and I do mean everything!

The simple things that most families are able to do together we are not always able to do publically because it would place my fiancé and the children in great jeopardy. But in spite of all of these challenges, the love that we share is immeasurable and we have learned to value the things that most families take for granted, like sitting down to eat dinner together and just having a conversation in the same room. What we desire most however, is to all be together this Christmas; not to merely exchange gifts but to celebrate each other and bask in the wonderful gift God has given us by making us into one family unit.

One of my prayers is to soon relocate my family to a country [like the United States or South Africa] where we can be together and enjoy the blessings of living under the same roof without having to be concerned about hateful ignorant people who threaten to literally wipe us off the planet just because [in their minds] we are not a traditional family — as if somehow the reality that we are family threatens them. This is one of the reasons why the current cases involving DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and Prop. 8, now before the Supreme Court is so vitally important to us and to families like ours because whatever decision they make, will most likely alter the course of our lives, perhaps for ever!

The thought of my family remaining in Uganda is inconceivable to me, knowing that our children cannot ever freely disclose anything to their teachers, school administrators or classmates about our family. One innocent slip of the tongue or earnest heartfelt disclosure could mean that we would have to flee our home, neighborhood and city like fugitives (on the run) just because two male same-gender loving parents head the household and parent innocent children.

These fears were amplified when my phone rang off the hook this morning at 4am. When I glanced over to look at the phone and saw that it was a long distance call from Uganda, I immediately assumed that my fiancé was phoning me. Enthusiastically, I picked up the phone expecting to hear my soul mate’s usual greeting, but instead it was the voice of an LGBT activist whom the police had kidnapped from his home a week ago, horribly beaten, and thrown in the local jail just because he opposed the current “Kill the Gays Bill” and harsh homophobic treatment of other openly gay activists like himself. My heart broke as he cried out to me, “Bishop, Bishop please help me!” A cry I hear frequently from LGBT youth in Uganda daily. I did everything to comfort him and promised to make phone calls to other influential friends in America and Uganda to try to get him released before they either tortured him to death or illegally incarcerated him for life – which they were already in the process of doing.

Even through all of these trials seem to constantly sweep over me like a tumultuous sea, still, I am strengthened by the resolve that though the mills of justice grind slowly and the arc of the universe is long, ultimately, it bends toward justice.

Additionally, I am encouraged by my children’s fortitude and I am humbled each time they express how proud of me they are. But the truth is that I am extremely proud of each one of them and thankful to God for blessing them to endure and become scholars and achievers, despite insurmountable circumstances. To God be the Glory for the awesome things He has done and is yet doing!

Dedicated to my beautiful children,
Angel Mason/Global Author/Activist

p.s After I penned this post, my children emailed me these messages. I am posting their responses because I want them to know how dearly I love them and appreciate their love, prayers, and encouragement:

Chichewa language -Malawi
Ulemu upite kwa bambo anga Angel Lee Mason. Zoonadi ndinu bambo wanzelu mumadziwa kusamalira Ana anu.Malangizo anu pazachikhilisitu kwaife Ana anu atithandiza ife kukula njila zachoonadi .Mulungu akudalitseni ndipo akupatseni Moyo wautali.Ndine Ken Phiri Mason Jr.

English Translation:
Great respect to my father Angel Lee Mason. Indeed, you are a real father to us. You know how to take care of your children physically and spiritually.

May God grant you with long life!

Love from your son,
Ken Phiri Mason Jr.

African Language – Taata

Neiwe kintu ekilikusingayo obulungyi ekyalabeireho omumagara gangye gona.

Buri lunaku ninyimuka ngololokire kamndi mpami ahabwa lukundo yawe,ogu nigwo gubeire omulundi gwangye gwokubanza kuhurira nshororokire kandi mpamire kweiha mbaho.obweire obwingyi tinyine nokunkubasa kukusiima narishi kukwebaza ahabwebilungyi ebyonkoreire,ahabwamatsiko ogonteiremu nobwetsigye,nimpurira ngumire ahabwokukugyira kandi ninkwikiririzamu kandi tindarote nakureba nkaba neiwe.ninkukunda munonga.
Godwin A. Mason

English Translation:
Dad,
You’re the best thing that has ever happened in my entire life. Every day I wake up to the warmth of your love and care; and for the first time in my life, I feel complete!

Sometimes I don’t know how to thank you for all that you have done for me and for the new hope you’ve given me. I am strong because I got you and I believe in you and I can’t wait to be with you.

I love you dad!
Godwin Mason

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